U.S. commanders in Iraq are for the first time seeking private contractors to form part of the small military teams that train and live with Iraqi military units across the country, according to a notice for prospective bidders published last week.
The solicitation, issued by the Joint Contracting Command in Baghdad, says the individuals that a contractor recruits -- who would include former members of the U.S. Special Forces and ex-Iraqi army officers -- will be trained in the United States with military transition teams (MiTTs) and shipped as a single team to Iraq. The recruits will live on Iraqi military bases "under Iraqi living conditions and participate with MiTT special operations and convoy duties," the solicitation says.
Thus far, the MiTTs have consisted of specially trained teams of about 10 to 12 U.S. soldiers led by a field-grade officer that were embedded with Iraqi army units from the division level down to the battalion level. The MiTTs have included officers and noncommissioned officers from different service branches tasked with teaching and mentoring their Iraqi counterparts to make them self-sufficient.